Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

PCBs are a class of chemicals which was used extensively in a wide variety of applications from the early-to-late 20th century. Their physical and chemical properties made them very suitable in uses as diverse as building sealants, anti-fouling paint for ships and electrical-insulating heat transfer fluids. They are POPs however and their production and use has been banned almost universally for decades, including under the Stockholm Convention, which requires their identification and eventual elimination.

Legacy issues related to existing inventories of PCBs have been the focus of numerous UNEP initiatives. Links below will access guidance documents, meeting proceedings, project descriptions and results and other organizations' PCB-related web resources.  

Guidance / Manuals | Projects | Useful links

Meetings

Workshop on Continuing PCB Management in the Latin American and Caribbean Countries,
Panama City, Panama - February 11-12, 2008

South African Development Community (SADC) PCB inventory project,
Executive Summary of the three project Workshops (2003 - 2005)

PCB Consultation Meeting, Geneva 9 - 10 June 2004

Planes de Acción para PCBs y Dioxinas/Furanos en el Marco del Plan Nacional de Aplicación del Convenio de Estocolmo Santiago de Chile, Chile, 19-23 July 2004

Action Plans for PCBs and Dioxins/Furans under the Stockholm Convention on POPs
Bangkok, Thailand, 9-13 July 2004

Action Plans for PCBs and Dioxins/Furans under the Stockholm Convention on POPs
Manama, Bahrain, 9-13 May 2004

Events prior to 2004

Guidance and information documents

UNEP Chemicals:
Worldwide inventory of PCB destruction capacity (Updated)

Guidelines for the Identification of PCBs and Materials Containing PCBs
Lignes directrices pour l'identification des PCB et du matériel contenant des PCB

PCB Transformers and Capacitors: From Management to Reclassification and Disposal
English Inventory form - English : Français Inventory form - English : Español Inventory form - English : Arab Inventory form - English : Russian Inventory form - English

Model PCB inventory forms: English Inventory form - EnglishInventory form - English : Français Inventory form - EnglishInventory form - English : Español Inventory form - EnglishInventory form - English : Arab Inventory form - EnglishInventory form - English

Survey of Currently Available Non-incineration PCB Destruction Technology

Stockholm convention:
BAT/BEP Guidance - Draft guidelines on best available techniques and provisional guidance on best environmental practices relevant to Article 5 and Annex C

Basel Convention:
Technical guidelines:
Technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs).
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Actualización de las directrices técnicas para el manejo ambientalmente racional de desechos consistentes en bifenilos policlorados (PCB), terfenilos policlorados (PCT) o bifenilos polibromados (PBB), que los contengan o estén contaminados con ellos

Updated general technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
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Actualización de las directrices técnicas generales para el manejo ambientalmente racional de desechos consistentes en contaminantes orgánicos persistentes, que los contengan o estén contaminados con ellos (COP)

Training Manuals:
Destruction and Decontamination Technologies for PCBs and Other POPs Wastes (Part I)

Destruction and Decontamination Technologies for PCBs and Other POPs Wastes (Part II)

Preparation of a National Environmentally Sound Management Plan for PCBs and PCB-Contaminated Equipment
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Manual de capacitación para la preparación de un plan nacional de manejo ambientalmente adecuado de los bifenilos policlorados (PCB) y de equipos contaminados con PCB en el marco de la implementación del Convenio de Basilea

Guidance Manuals:
Methodological Guide for Undertaking National Inventories under the Basel Convention

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GUÍA METODOLÓGICA PARA LA REALIZACIÓN DE INVENTARIOS NACIONALES DE DESECHOS PELIGROSOS EN EL MARCO DE LA CONVENCIÓN DE BASILEA

Global Environment Facility:
Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility

Projects on PCBs

Support for national PCB inventories

Links to other organizations with PCB projects

Global Environment Facility (GEF) project database (Search on POPs)

UNIDO - United Nations industrial Development Organization (search on "PCB")

UNDP - United Nations Development Programme (search on "PCB")

The World Bank

Links to information on PCBs

International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) INCHEM database - information on PCBs

US EPA information on PCBs

European Commission information on PCBs

 

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